Monday, April 30, 2012

Outlander - A Gushy Review

I love this book. I'm so sorry I waited so long to start the series. 

Shortest blurb ever: Claire Randall is a field nurse in WWII. She's flung back in time to 18th century Scotland, ends up marrying the super-AWESOME Jamie Fraser for her safety, and all hell breaks loose. And there is a VERY BAD ENGLISHMAN afoot. See above: hell breaks loose. 

There are some books that are a pure experience. One of the reasons I completely ignored Outlander before now is because 1) it's huge 2) I thought the time travel would be cheesy. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. First off, I am supremely glad that Gabaldon set the beginning of this book in the 1940s. If it'd been the 1990s (when the book was published), it would've aged the book much more. Historical-on-historical was much more effective. 

She did a darn fine job of painting a historical portrait. I cleave to books that can pick me up out of my everyday life and set me down in another time and place. Some of my all-time fave historical novels (Pope Joan, The Red Tent) are memorable and worthy of gushing over because they immerse. I love knowing what the characters eat, how they dress, what the setting and weather are like, how badly they stink from lack of indoor plumbing (ahem!). Anyway, yes, details are important to me -- especially when they add to the magic of a story and don't bog it down. 

The characters here are so great. While I had a problem with Matthew and Diana for their mutual co-dependence in my previous read, A Discovery of Witches, I felt quite wonderfully the opposite about Claire and Jamie. These two are spitfires! Jamie is a rough and tumble Highlander, quick with a blade, potential bull in a China closet. BUT, he's also quite soft-hearted, well-mannered, and educated. It was so much fun getting to know him. 

Likewise, I loved Claire, the female protagonist in the story. She's a heck of a character-- able in her healing, quick-witted, and sharp-tongued. She and Jamie go toe to toe on several occasions and I loved the hard-headed, passionate dynamic between these two. 

I've said in previous posts here that I rarely jump into a second book by an author. Not the case with Outlander. It was one of those books that so thoroughly compelled me that I wanted to either turn back to the beginning and re-read it right away or jump into the second book. I decided to jump into the second, and I hope to polish off Dragonfly in Amber this week.

Y'all also know I'm somewhat terrified of the commitment that comes along with reading chunky books. Not this one. So so so so so good.

All-time favorites list good. Take that!

Snuggle (with nuzzles and purring) -- Skewer

Pub. Date: June 1991
Publisher: Random House
Format: E-Book
ISBN-13:   9780440335160 
Source: Purchased the e-book

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Sunday Salon - The Week That Tried To Kill Me with Awesomeness

This week was not all awesomeness. It began early Monday morning with Greyson sick. I stayed home with him half a day on Monday, then passed him over to my mom for the latter half of the day so I could make an appearance at work. He was feeling better and went to daycare on Tuesday, but he came home with a fever. Took the day off on Wednesday to take him to the doc, and just as I'd suspected: two ear infections and a sore throat (didn't expect the sore throat part).

This is decidedly not awesome as the boy has had chronic ear infections since he was born. Next step: ear, nose, and throat specialist. I see tubes in our future, and I'm ready for 'em!

In the midst of all this, the awesome happened. I was looking for another book to keep me engaged after I finished up A Discovery of Witches, and boy did I find the motherload in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This is not my official review, because I'm getting my thoughts together on how exactly I want to gush about it. BUT, I will say that it's supremely gushworthy, and I knocked off all 700+ pages in a week. Pretty impressive for someone with no attention span, eh?

In fact, I sat around for a couple of hours after I finished the book yesterday, trying to decide what to attempt next, and the answer was clear. The next book in the series! So I'm currently reading Dragonfly in Amber and while it's ripping my heart out, I will endure and probably polish this one off just as quickly as the first.

This is one of those series that Heather and my other trusty book buddies have been telling me to read since my Yahoo! Groups days back in 2001. Why in heaven's name did I wait so long?! I don't even know. Madness.

The other series my book peeps have been telling me to read is A Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin. Tammy, I'm gonna read it soon. I swear. I've learned my lesson. I should just shut up and listen to you all because we all share a big communal brain.

The rest of my Sunday will consist of grading a truckload of essays and exams. There are a couple of weeks left in the semester, and I'm READY FOR IT TO BE OVER. As much as I like having a teaching outlet left to get that "fix," I'm just tired. Ready for a break. One summer online class is so much better than four regular semester online classes.

With that, I'm off to jump into the grading. Be well, y'all! Have any other recommendations for books that will grab me by the hair and knock me off my feet? Keep 'em coming.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Discovery of Witches

I have been in a slump, but I'd like for you all to meet the book that busted it. Why, yes! It's A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness! 

I've had this one on my wishlist since it started taking over the blogosphere, but I put it off because I was bound and determined to start the year with as many Tournament of Books books as possible. But after I started this new gig and the brain fog kicked in, I just needed something, anything, to GET ME READING. 

Blurb from Publishers Weekly:  In Harkness's lively debut, witches, vampires, and demons outnumber humans at Oxford's Bodleian Library, where witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. Against all occult social propriety, Bishop turns for protection to tall, dark, bloodsucking man-about-town Clairmont. Their research raises questions of evolution and extinction among the living dead, and their romance awakens centuries-old enmities.

I have no idea how to review this book, but I'm pressing on. It was wonderful and it was horrible all at the same time. Let's break it down.

The historical is SUPER fabulous. Matthew Clairmont is 1,500 years old, so he has SEEN SOME HISTORY and befriended (or pissed off) just about every big historical name one could think of. In many ways his lifestyle in the contemporary landscape is a throwback to the old world with shades of his past coloring his and Diana's everyday interaction. This is one of those books that made me feel as if I was picked up and set down in another life, another time. I was also a big fan of the Oxford setting, where Claire and Matthew work. The academic side of the novel was also ridonkulously fulfilling. And kind of romantic in its own way. 

On another front, the Matthew/Diana romance is fun but also supremely annoying. I have found over the years that books appealing to my sense of romance can help kick start my reading when things are slowing down. Such was the case here. Matthew is dreamy in that knightly sort of way, willing to tear the throat out of anyone or anything in his path to save his special lady friend. On the flip side of that, there's a distinct case of Twilight syndrome involved. He's always in charge, always giving orders, always telling her to take a nap or drink some tea or calm down or suck it up. Blahhhrrrgggg! She's an OXFORD ACADEMIC! Most of the female academics I know are the sharpest, most straightforward, silver tongued, hard-headed women I know. And I admire them for it. Diana was too darn spineless for my taste. Overall, her willingness to keep secrets, avoid Matthew's secrets, and flake out dampened the overall effect for me. 

The world building was impressive in the beginning. I really liked gaining knowledge of the vampire/witch/daemon trifecta of disaster. Talk about volatile otherworldly race relations. As the book progressed and got more complicated in its world building it became almost ineffectively confusing. I think there were plot holes, but I'd have to go back and read it again to make sure. Or maybe I was just skimming to see if Diana and Matthew would get down with the sexytimes already. *ahem*

 I realize you're probably confused. I said I liked this book. It's book crack. Those were my very words on Twitter. And indeed, both are true. It had some big issues that bugged me AFTER I closed the book. While I was in the book, I was totally invested in finding out what would happen next. Afterward I wanted to slap Diana and Matthew both. Really hard. 

Will I read the second? Absolutely. I have to find out what happens and how some of the issues in this first installment shake out.

Have you read it? What did you think? Have you had a bookish encounter like this one--you were totally rapt but wanted to roll your eyes at everyone after you closed the book?

Note: this book will count toward my personal Chunkster Challenge since it weighs in at 587 virtual pages.

Pub. Date: February 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Format: E-Book
ISBN-13:  9780143119685 
Source: Purchased the e-book

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - or Top Five on Wednesday!

Visit The Broke and the Bookish blog (click the pic) to participate, weekly!

I was hosting a TLC Tours stop yesterday for The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone, so I thought I'd post my Top Ten Favorite Characters today instead! But then I started writing, and I'm pretty passionate about these characters, so I wrote more than I anticipated. Instead, I've decided to focus on five of my favorite characters and I'll deliver another five later this week or early next. Keep an eye out!

Now, I knowwww everyone thinks I'm gonna stick Estella at the top of the list. And I'm tempted. I mean really and truly tempted. BUT, I'm going to resist the urge and tell you about some of my favorite characters who are not necessarily central characters. These folks really deserve some time in the spotlight as peripheral characters can sometimes be even more memorable than our protagonists. 

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens -- Isn't this a stunning image? Helena Bonham Carter will play the enigmatic and iconic nut job in Mike Newell's adaptation of the famous Dickens novel. I can never get enough of the rotting dress and the room and the falling-in estate. I love it all. I don't know that another character (besides Estella, and they go hand-in-hand) has ever struck my imagination in quite the same way.

Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens -- This is a name I see far too little in my blog surfing. One of Dickens' most memorable characters, Carton was an attorney and a lush. A more or less throw-away human being until he did a "far, far better thing" than this reader expected him to do! I will always think of Carton as Ronald Colman played the role in the 1935 film adaptation. Thanks to my high school English teacher, Dr. Partin, for making us watch this film. 

Ysabeau from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness -- Having just finished the book, I haven't even written up my review! However, in thinking back over it, I'm sure many readers would immediately jump to the bookish Diana or the super-hawt vampire, Matthew. BUT, I'm going with Ysabeau, Matthew's vampire "mother." She was a far more multifaceted and interesting character for me. She was angry, bitter, prejudiced, but also underwent a change to maternal. A complicated one, that Ysabeau. 

Nessarose, The Imminent Thropp of Munchinkinland from Wicked by Gregory Maguire -- What a beast, this one. It's funny how Nessarose becomes such an antagonist. She's one-side in her religious and political views, she's beautiful but deformed. She's a mixture of religion and rigidity. I just wanted to kick her in the face, but she's such an interesting foil to Elphaba. She is quite a memorable character. 

Arnold Friend from the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have you Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates -- I couldn't leave out a short story! Come on! And if you've been here for a minute, you'll remember that I gush about this selection at every available opportunity. Arnold Friend is truly a creepy, weird, disturbing character. He's damaged somehow, though the ambiguity of the story can only leave us looking for answers. I have my own, but you'll have to read the story to figure out what Arnold Friend has in his boots. Trust me, just do it. :) Oh, and why are you looking at a Bob Dylan pic? Because Friend looked an awful lot like him in description and Oates was influenced by a Dylan song in writing this story.

Who are some of your lesser-sung favorite characters???

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone

Synopsis from the Publisher: Michel Stone’s debut novel, set against the backdrop of illegal immigration, is one family’s story of fateful decisions, risky border crossings, and a struggle for humanity. With a dream of a more prosperous life for his family, Héctor crosses into America on a harrowing journey in a welded-shut metal compartment under a delivery truck, making his way to job on a tree farm on Edisto Island, SC. He tells Lilia, his young wife, to stay behind with her newborn until he can pay for her travel. Impulsive and impatient, Lilia abandons her village, hands off her baby to a smuggler who should not have been trusted, and swims the dark Rio Grande. The tragedy unfolds across the southern United States. As Michel Stone weaves her tale of hope and human dignity, of sorrow and suffering, we see not only the devastating consequences of Lilia’s and Héctor’s decisions, but the consequences of decisions we have made as a society and as a nation. With its themes of loss, betrayal, and redemption, The Iguana Tree has the resonance of myth.

When TLC approached me with The Iguana Tree, by Michel Stone, I took a few minutes to think about it. The synopsis is certainly convincing, but this book is squarely outside of my usual reading choices. The perils of U.S. border crossing is not a topic I thought I'd be keen to read, even though it's a huge issue in my state of Texas. Ultimately I chose to accept the book for exactly these reasons...that it is outside my usual choices, and I wanted to push myself. 

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that I've not yet finished the book (about halfway through). It is NOT the fault of Michel Stone or her gripping writing. It's a problem that's a little embarrassing -- the type is really small! I kid y'all not, I opened it, started reading the beautifully crafted prose, and my eyes crossed. 

I blame this new development on a couple of things:
1. I never go to the eye doctor as I should. I haven't needed to wear glasses since I was 11 years old, BUT...
2. A job on computers all day and night has made my eyes much more tired lately and prone to strain.
3. I'm spoiled to Nook books where I can make the type larger. This issue never even crossed my mind as a possibility.

For these reasons, I've been taking it slow, but I am thoroughly enjoying the book. Lilia and Hector's plight grabbed me right off the bat, and Stone's deft hand at describing the atmosphere and landscape helped me become quickly invested in the story. While it is harsh at times, harrowing indeed, the writing adds a glaze of beauty over the whole thing. While the stories are nothing alike, it reminds me a little bit of how I felt read The Hours. A heavy story but beautiful nonetheless. 

Win a Copy!
That said, I have some goodies in store! One lucky reader will win a copy of The Iguana Tree. All you have to do is leave a comment. 

My thanks to Hub City Press for providing a giveaway book. I also need to put in a plug for this delightful publisher. When I received the book it was wonderfully packaged with some goodies and extras like a great bookmark. The book itself is also a beautiful edition. It's hefty, sturdily made, and the paper is good quality. I blame my eyes on the slow reading, completely.

See the book trailer below. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shameless Impulse Purchases

It's been a long time since I've bought books with any regularity. With plenty on my stacks and a wishlist eight miles long, the library and I get along just fine on most occasions. 


You knew there was a but. 

Sometimes, a reader just needs some new material. ESPECIALLY when coming off of a ridiculous slump. Case in point. When I finished reading A Discovery of Witches, which was a very successful foray into paranormal/historical/romance for me, I had to keep the good mojo flowing. 

Drumroll, please!

That's right, kids, I'm going for more historical/sf/romance! My good bloggy buddies (and book group buddies, back in the day) have been trying to get me to try Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, forever. Really, for like 12 years. 

Heather (@capriciousreadr) actually Tweeted the following to me: 

 AND JAMIE. If you don't fall head over heels for Jamie I may have to disown you.

Do you see the threats!?! That's serious business. I'm about 100 pages in, and so far Outlander = total book crack. I'm addicted. And away we go. And I already like Jamie. Even though he's stinky and all taped up from a musket a time with no indoor plumbing. Ahem!

And I also bought a book I'd never even heard of until I saw its cover and pinned it last week:

I Am An Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran. Behold the blurb.

 In I Am an Executioner, Rajesh Parameswaran introduces us to a cast of heroes—and antiheroes—who spring from his riotous, singular imagination. From the lovesick tiger who narrates the unforgettable opener, “The Infamous Bengal Ming” (he mauls his zookeeper out of affection), to the ex-CompUSA employee who masquerades as a doctor; from a railroad manager in a turn-of-the-century Indian village, to an elephant writing her autobiography; from a woman whose Thanksgiving preparations put her husband to eternal rest, to the newlywed executioner of the title, these characters inhabit a marvelous region between desire and death, playfulness and violence. At once glittering and savage, daring and elegant, here are wholly unforgettable tales where reality loops in Borgesian twists and shines with cinematic exuberance, by an author who promises to dazzle the universe of American fiction.

This one seems like it has just the right amount of humor and morbidity and oddity for me. I like 'em off the wall, and I REALLY like short(ish) stories! I have high hopes. Anyone else read it?

Nosy bookworms want to know: what are your latest impulse purchases?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sunday Salon - Of Parties and Books and a Tantrum

What the HECK IS GOING ON HERE!!! Note: if you'd rather skip my Sunday morning rant and the recap of G's bday party I totally respect that. Skip on down to "here are the books." 

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, here are the deets:

It's Sunday, I'm working today (yay). I'm kicked out at Starbucks with my laptop for several hours (slated 9am-2pm). Have already finished a round of bi-weekly reports for Day Job. Now I'm grading a gazillion papers for my remaining online classes. A bit ago, a huge, loud, ridiculous family came in and pulled up the three tables to my right and proceeded to be obnoxious for an hour. *hisssss* I realize it's a public place and all, but none of the other talkers in the joint have felt the need to be quite so oblivious.

Anywho, I get over the Starbucks-loud-family fiasco and I'm faced with a brand new BLOGGER INTERFACE!!! Change + me = temper tantrums. I'll probably eventually love it, but today is just not the day to whip out a new look on me, Blogger.  It seems I now have to scroll a page down to actually see my dashboard, but I can quickly and easily change my interface language to Bengali. SWEET! *sarcasm....dripping sarcasm*

Moving on.

Yesterday was a most successful birthday party for Mr. G. We had family and friends come out to a rather large, impressive park nearby. There was a splash area, a lake with a fishing dock, plenty of room to fly kites, and a balance of shade and sunshine. We had cake and some other munchies and generally enjoyed ourselves. And easy clean up. Very important!


While I was absolutely zonked last night, I managed to make some time to knock off another 50 pages or so of A Discovery of Witches. I read some more this morning before I came out to grade, too, so I feel sure I'll finish today barring any weird incidents (knock on wood). The action is really picking up in this last section, and I'm loving it! The book is not without some annoyances, but we'll talk about that later.

I think a big chunky paranormal romancey novel was just what I needed to bust the slump. Hopefully, I'm gonna keep this roll going with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon next. I've never tried it, but I think now is the time.

I feel much better now that I've vented. What are you reading today? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Personally: Guess Who Turned TWO Yesterday?!

Yesterday was a bittersweet day. Greyson is growing up so fast; it's hard to believe he turned two years old. I look back and I have no idea where the time went -- into work, housekeeping, and family squabbles. But also into trips to the park, meals, bath time, naps, books and toys.

So much has changed over the last two years. Not just Greyson himself, but the way we go about our day, the way our family functions, the jobs, the routines.

Yes, it was a bittersweet day to look back, but Greyson is the sweetest part of everyone's day every single day. He's full of laughs and smiles and new words. He has the best "please" in town. He giggles and has an attitude. He's turning into a real individual: a hard-headed, opinionated, joyful, giggly little man reminiscent of Chuck and me in equal parts. It makes me happy to see him make everyone around him happy.

He also shares his birthday with my mom--his NooNoo--so they celebrated with hugs and snuggles. She has been an enormous help to me even though I don't think it's fair sometimes that we take up so much of her time. She insists she's glad to help, and in seeing her interact with him, I believe her.

Greyson is two. I never realized just how fast the time passes.

Got wrapped up watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and forgot about gifts!

Looking things over.

Waiting patiently (mostly). 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Sunday Salon - Of Yucky Weather and Lounging

Yucky weather is right. Cloudy, drizzly, and a chance of severe storms throughout the day. Needless to say, I've spent the day in my jammies grading papers and watching mindless TV. Greyson, the will-be-TWO-on-Tuesday toddler, woke me up by hoisting himself over my sleeping frame at 6am. You might've seen me lamenting this fact on Twitter. I set the kid up with breakfast, made myself some eggs and toast, and we were off to a good start.

We've watched copious amounts of DVRed Caillou episodes. I made some quick chicken salad for lunch. He's napping (that should be winding down any time now). Since I've spent the bulk of this middle part of the day grading, I think I'm going to reward myself with some reading time this afternoon. With the kiddo rested, he should be willing to play with toys until dinner time.

I'm not far into A Discovery of Witches, so I hope I can focus enough to really dig in this afternoon. On another reading-related note, my Google Reader is CLEAR for the first time in over a month. Go me!

Off to lounge some more, finish some laundry, and generally enjoy a lazy Sunday. I hope you're doing the same!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Slump Busting with a New Download

What I'm really dealing with here is a slump. While it is MOST DEFINITELY work-induced, it still has to go. Seriously, I need readerly sustenance. So how am I going to bust this significantly horrible slump?

1. All obligations are off. Except that TLC tour on the 24th.
2. All concern for reading anything literary fiction is gone.
3. Books I own??? Who cares!

After months of lusting from afar after A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I finally took the plunge and downloaded it to my Nook. I've seen scads of positive reviews of this one, and some have even described it to me--for better or worse--as Twilight for adults. That could go either way, we'll see.

Nonetheless, I am taken with the premise and I'm especially keen on the academic bent that's included. However, I am slightly scared by the fact that it reminds me of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe right here in the beginning. I was only so-so about that one, so hopefully Discovery of Witches will thrill and delight me a bit more.

I'm only a few chapters in, but this one is definitely going to be a quick read and that's probably exactly what I need to get my reading mojo going again.

Have you slumped lately? What got you out of it?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Spring Things

I still haven't gotten to post about all of my favorite things this week, but the frequency of posting is definitely up! I miss y'all...can you tell?

So today I'm back with more favorite things. I love spring and rolling into summer because it's always a good time to refresh the wardrobe. As much as I like the warm tones of autumn and winter, I am the QUEEN of a pop of color. I'm also a big fan of layering, so I try to keep a good mix of layerable tanks and shells in my closet that I can pair with lots of neutrals and textures, jackets and cardigans, for work or home.

I went over to my favorite store in the universe today (Kohl's) to pick out an Easter outfit for Greyson. He ended up with a baby blue sweater vest and some preppy plaid shorts. Mama needed to shop for herself, so you'll find three lovely tops above, and the fourth was a gift from my mom.

I fell in love with the tank on top (colored bands). I always have a thing for corals and blushes, and this top was just so vibrant! I also picked up a grey, crocheted cardigan. Will probably pair those with some jeans and flats for a relaxed Easter egg hunt tomorrow.

There was also a sparkly grey cardigan that I kinda loved that I didn't buy today. If it's still haunting me, I might snatch it up next week. *shopaholic*

Is there any particular season or occasion that gets your shopping mojo going?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Latest Project

Never realized, when I started this gig, how soon I'd be working on media for a movie. Weird feeling! But a good feeling. If you haven't read about it, go here...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Texas Tornadoes

I'm sure you all have heard about the goings-on in my area. Yesterday was nothing short of a weather meltdown here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with something in the neighborhood of 10-15 tornadoes popping up over the course of the day.

My office is right on the edge of downtown Dallas, and we really dodged trouble with a couple of tornadoes around us at various times. We had sirens and craziness, and my team headed down to the basement parking garage at one point as we received news that other local business were evacuating into safe areas. At one point in the afternoon we received word that a cell was forming over the American Airlines Center, which I can see out the window from a conference room down the hall.

Even scarier was being here at work and watching on Facebook, our local NBC affiliate's website, and other outlets as a tornado moved straight toward my hometown where my mom and Greyson were hunkered down. Luckily, the tornadic activity passed over my town, but there was a Tornado Emergency declared for the next town over. I haven't heard damage reports yet but aside from high wind and large hail, it appears my area lucked out.

An event like this is really a wake up call on a lot of fronts. I am sending thoughts and prayers to those most affected by the storms in Arlington, Lancaster, and Forney. I was relieved to find out last night that all of my Forney family members are safe.

I also realized a greater appreciation for information sharing yesterday as updates on Facebook were more informative than the news about the exact location of storms and activity. My hometown's Facebook page was the first to put out the call to take cover.

I'm also thankful for the forethought and good planning our schools and daycares have in place. I called to check on things at the daycare yesterday and the team had already been over their emergency procedure, and they were putting that into action when my mom picked Greyson up. Those folks get a pat on the back from me.

Finally, thanks to all of my friends across the country who checked on my family and our other Dallas-area bloggers via Facebook and Twitter (and text message -- hi, Heather!). I so so so appreciate your concern and watchfulness. Those prayers came in handy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Stuff Week: Coffee Confections

It's "stuff week" again here at the old blog because I have been indulging in lots of stuff that makes me happy lately. Spring has sprung (or is it summer already) and I'm feeling that itch to clean and frolic. So what do I have in store for you today? Goodies, that's what! I'm highlighting some of my favorite indulgences and pleasures this week. No one is paying me. I just like to pretend I'm Oprah sometimes.

I didn't start drinking coffee until the last two years or so. I knew as soon as my mom bought a Keurig, good things were in store. I was positively convinced when she bought Chuck and me our own Keurig a couple of years ago.

Within the last year or so, with a long commute and often sleep-deprived, I do enjoy a cup or two first thing in the morning on the way to work or when I get to the office. Imagine my inward squeals of joy when I saw my new office has TWO industrial-sized Keurigs with a nearly-unlimited amount of K-cups! We always have a stash of standards like Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend and Newman's Extra Bold. But what really flips my switch is when we get a box of specialty blend, as was the case last week when a new flavor came into my life.

*angels sing, caffeine junkies do backflips*


This is a light roast with a distinctively cinnamon roll flavor. I know, I was shocked, too. It does take some prep work to figure out how much cream/sweetener to add. Lemme tell ya, not much! It's a sweet, cinnamony delight, and while I might not want it first thing in the morning, this is one of those coffees I'd love to enjoy in the afternoon. It has that comfort quality to it.

Green Mountain is probably my favorite K-Cup brand in general. I find their coffee smooth, not too bitter or acidic, and generally just right for me. I'm also one of those people that would never be caught dead drinking black coffee. I make it taste less like coffee and more like heaven.

The really important question is: what are your favorite coffees? Any recommendations for me (K-cup or not)? Come on, coffee nuts need to know these things. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

I Feel Another "Stuff Week" Coming On!

Holy upheaval!

The new job is going well. I'm spending lots of hours working since the name of the game in social media is that it never sleeps. Plus, ya know, building a department, more or less, from the ground up! We have lots of cool projects in the works -- some I can type about; others are still super-top-secret. BUT if you'd like a peek, go on over to Especially if you're in higher education, you'll love this publication!

All this to say, I'm gonna have to host another "stuff week" here at the old blog. Some of you might remember I had blogger block back in the fall, and writing about something other than books -- completely taking the pressure off -- really helped rejuvenate me.

 Reading will be back, but it's not back yet. I'm doing lots of photo taking, toddler herding, and social media immersing. Have been exploring the new neighborhoods around work (been 10 years since I worked in downtown Dallas, and now I'm on the uptown/Arts District side). When it comes to reading it's been some fashion and food blogs. And we've been spending time outside in the beautiful weather.

I'm feeling springy and needing some lightness, so I have CHANGED MY BACKGROUND for this little mood. That NEVER happens. I'll also be doing some "favorite things" posts this week about the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Lots of change swirling around me -- the most since Greyson was born -- but it's good! I miss you all terribly, but I'm making my way back into the groove!

What have you been up to?? What's your spring mood like?
Images by Freepik